So here’s Redlaw, what I fully expect to be the first in a series of novels about a former policeman turned vampire wrangler.  I really set out with this one to create a streamlined, plot-driven tale that doesn’t hang around and gets what needs to be done done in super-quick time.  No messing about, no half measures, uncompromising — a bit like John Redlaw himself.

The setting is present-day Britain, where an influx of vampire immigrants from the east is causing civil unrest and political headaches.  The vampires, known euphemistically as “Sunless”, have been corralled and caged in inner-city areas, and the job of keeping them under control has fallen to an agency called SHADE, a band of men and women dedicated to preserving peace — or at least non-aggression — between humankind and vampirekind.

This isn’t just a tale of the fanged undead, however.  I’ve written it as a satire of contemporary politics and business culture.  Not all bloodsuckers shun the sun and drain your veins…

Click here for a preview of the first chapter.

65 Responses to “Redlaw”

  1. James says:

    It wasn’t deliberate that the Conquistador and V share certain similarities, but it wasn’t accidental either. V was always in the back of my mind as a model for the character, and these days it’s hard to do a faceless freedom fighter without calling V to mind. Not only that but V For Vendetta has been a firm favourite of mine since I first read it back in the mid-1980s, when it appeared serialised in a monthly British magazine called Warrior. Then again, the Conquistador is also based on Batman to a certain extent and just about any other “solitary, dark shadow” vigilante you can name.

    As for casting Illyria, Rachel Weisz might be a good fit, with her slightly exotic looks, or maybe Kate Beckinsale. Someone with dark hair and pale skin with a track record of onscreen butt-kicking. And I agree totally about Hugo Weaving. He can make almost any movie worth watching. I’d very much like him to make an appearance in the Avengers movie, but I suspect he won’t. It seems there are already enough villains in that, what with Loki and a so-far-unidentified alien warrior race (Skrulls? Kree? Badoon? Take your pick.)

  2. Andrew Miller says:

    I’m hitting that point in Aztec that is making me want to continue. I really like the book and story so far. I personally love “What if?” story lines and I feel like this Aztec is a what if more specifically “What if the Aztec Empire had equal or superior technology then European conquerors?” I’m eager to see what happens there after. The Conquistador is a pretty cool character, and at the moment I’m not the biggest fan of Mal, but we will see how that plays out. I do agree that Batman/V elements shine through with the Conquistador.

    Casting Illyria to me after seeing your suggestions I would say Rachel Weisz is perfect. Kate Beckinsale is very action superhero star. The Underworld series to me has been more about her and less about Werewolves/Vampires so I wouldn’t want her to overshadow the main theme and plot of Redlaw. Rachel Weisz seems to be a much more cool, calm collected individual. She is very attractive (as is Kate) but not the youngest in the world making her fit the Illyria role perfectly.

    A little insight on The Avengers movie. I can’t say this is gospel truth but it might be something worth considering. I play a game called Heroclix and that game just released an Avengers movie set. Within that set the Red Skull is a piece released so I’m thinking maybe he might make a cameo but who knows. Also Skrull infiltrator is a piece. Just a generic army piece but a Skrull none the less. If you are familiar with the Ultimates story the “Ultimates” are put together during an invasion by the Chiutari, who are the Ultimate version of the Skrulls. So only a couple weeks to wait, but if I had to bet my money would be on Skrulls.

    As you can probably tell by my time lapse in replies I’ve been busy ending year one of graduate school. While exhausting the same issues are present, my graduate level writing. I’m hopeful though and only have a week and a half left.

  3. James says:

    I’ve been without broadband for a while, hence the absence. It’s a long, complicated story, mainly coming down to my service providers being a bunch of idiot douchebags. They’ve assured me that it’s all fixed now, but for a while I’ve been having to sneak down to a coffee bar for half an hour just to send essential work. Pain in the arse.

    I’ve seen the Avengers movie now, and I have to say I was a little disappointed by it. I won’t give anything away in case you haven’t seen it yet, but I left with the impression that it could have been a little less serious, a little lighter on its feet. There are some terrific action moments and some great one-liners, and the post-credits scene is very exciting indeed, but in general I’m still not sure about the movie. Joss Whedon can do no wrong in my book, though, and I’m going to see it again in a week or so with my kids and will give it another chance. Maybe second time around, when my expectations aren’t quite so high, I might like it more.

    Feedback I’ve been getting on Aztec points to the fact that in the early sections people aren’t sure who’s the good guy, the Conquistador or Mal. Both have a justification for doing what they do but both are also acting out of impure motives and are ruthless to the point of sadism. It has to be said that that was what I was going for with the book. I didn’t want the delineation between good guy and bad guy to be clear-cut, at least not to start with. To me, that’s more interesting than the usual deal, where you know straight away who to root for and who to hiss. Life is more complicated than that.

  4. Semi-long time no reply from me. Well I have a lot I can cover and a limited amount of your page to do it so here goes nothing. Firstly I finished school for the semester, same nonsense with my writing and I ended up pulling an A and an A- for the semester. That gives my GPA (based out of a 4.0 being perfect) a 3.8 for the year. I can say I am very happy with that bit of news. Keeping with personal news about me and my life I just recently got a transfer to a different branch so I am only about 15 minutes from my home instead of the insane 45 like I was previously. I’m pretty excited about that too.

    Avengers Assemble, or as you saw in the movie my favorite Captain America was not given his trademark famous line. That was literally the only disappointing thing about that incredibly awesome movie. The one-liners were funny, plot was great and action was intense. In the United States I hear we got two bonus scenes where as the rest of the world got only one. The one I think you saw introduced the villain for the next movie which made me feel gitty like a school girl when I realized “he” was going to be in a movie. Whedon hit the mark hard, and if he gets that villain correct then he can do no wrong in my book as well.

    Let us finish this discussing Age of Aztec. By now I have finished the book and as with all others it was very well written. I didn’t catch the twist you threw in but I should have seen it coming it was that scene I knew was happening but didn’t accept. The overall ending (which I won’t spoil) did kind of make me feel down. I understand the why and how you did it and obviously we aren’t talking about reality here but overall I felt uplifted in the book and then hit hard in the end. Personal preference more than anything, but overall it was very high quality. At this point I expect nothing less especially after reading five books all of great quality.

    I hope I can make it on here more than not to keep in touch. I’m reading comics again and plan on doing a review on each of your books I read for my website and in addition to that I have a question I would like to ask but I’ll do that through email. Hope your internet is working and the lovelies who are in charge have gotten their act together.

  5. James says:

    Internet is just about up and running again. That isn’t to say there aren’t still hiccups. I’m supposed to be getting broadband that’s twice as fast as it used to be with my previous service provider. So far I’ve seen scant evidence of that. My hometown is famously low on bandwidth, or so I’ve been told. Perhaps it’s because it’s a little off the beaten track but also because it’s famous for being a place where people retire to, kind of like Florida but without the mosquitoes and heat and racial-profiling killings. Old people don’t care about download speeds. In fact, they probably prefer their internet slower. However, that doesn’t help me at all.

    Well done on your school results and GPA. Good work.

    I liked Avengers, more the second time I saw it than the first. I think I was expecting too much from it. I wanted it to be utterly awesome and wasn’t prepared to settle for just excellent. I hope they do a sequel with all the same people, including Joss Whedon, and if the storyline centres on the Kree/Skrull War, with Thanos presiding over it, so much the better. The aliens in this one were a bit bland, just something for the ground-level heroes to kick around and shoot. Loki, however, was wonderful, and the Hulk really stole the show, didn’t he?

    The downbeat ending on Aztec was something I was desperately hoping to avoid but couldn’t. I used to like downbeat endings more than I do now. In this instance, I racked my brains trying to figure out a way of working it so that what did happened wouldn’t happen, and I couldn’t. I still regard the situation as a victory (of sorts) for the good guys, a moral one if not an actual one. Maybe the whole apocalyptic mood of our world today just got to me and I couldn’t shake it off…

    Anyway, by all means email me with your question, and I’d love to see your reviews when they’re online.

  6. Long time no speak my friend. This time MY internet was being a little bitch and failing. I’ve been quite busy and spending a lot of money on a new bed, new desk, moving my computer and reorganizing my room. Money and more money spent, time and more time has kept me from responding not to mention that after moving my desk the internet just up and failed on me.

    I’ve only seen the Avengers once but I have a pretty solid memory of it. The aliens used were very cheap and like you said just for the ground n pound heroes. My personal favorite Captain America didn’t get to yell Avengers Assemble and wasn’t shown to his fullest capability which disappointed me a bit. Watching Hiddleston play Loki made me think he would be a perfect Slocock. I do agree though that the Hulk really did steal the show.

    As far as Aztec goes I’ve been kicking the idea around my mind for a while and the ending was truly fitting. I liked who the gods were and was wondering when you were going to go with that route, just didn’t expect it to be revealed at the end of the story. Overall after thinking about it I know have a deeper appreciation of the book.

    Speaking of other Lovegrove stories, my Dad is now reading The Age of Ra. He was lost at the beginning of the story and said he felt like he was dropped right into the middle of a series, but after being assured that is not the case he continued. He is almost done with it and I’m intrigued how he reacted to it. I’m hoping to come back with a good review but only time will tell.

    I expect to get the reviews up within the next 1-2 weeks. I did Age of Ra already, I have the other pantheon books and Redlaw to put up, and an email will be forthcoming asap.

  7. James says:

    Well, your dad was right about Ra, sort of. I made a conscious decision to drop the reader right into the middle of things with the beginning of that book, in order that I could get to a fight scene as soon as possible. It was the first time I’d tried something like that, and I accept that I may have got it a little wrong — made it seem too much like it was the follow-on from a previous book. However, I hope that since then I’ve worked out how to do it properly. Anyway, I hope he ended up liking the rest of it. My dad used to read my books but more out of a sense of paternal duty and/or loyalty than anything. They really aren’t the sort of fiction he would normally have read, especially the early, sick ones.

    My internet is now working better than ever. An engineer came round to find out why we were getting only 1 meg download speeds. He shook his head in dismay at the tangled electrical and telephone system our house has (partly because it’s old and partly because it was once divided into two flats then recombined into a single property again). Eventually he managed to disconnect a couple of cables, and hey presto, we’re up to 3 meg now. Which isn’t fast by most people’s reckoning, but we’re a long way from the main exchange and the fibre optic cabling that’s being installed all over the country is in place but won’t be hooked up to the majority of houses for quite some time. The reasons for this I don’t understand, but it may have something to do with the inertia inherent in our nationwide telecommunications provider.

    Do let me know when the reviews go up and I’ll post a link here. I know I should be providing news updates more frequently but there hasn’t been a lot to talk about recently, other than the daily grind of churning out words. I should, however, have a cover image for Age Of Voodoo to share soon. It’s just going through the final tweaks right now.

  8. So my Age of Zeus article is up and the Age of Odin is on its way. is where the article is and all you have to do is head there and you can see the article in all of its glory. I feel I did it justice but you will have to see it for yourself of course.

    My father finished the Age of Ra and he really liked it. He was slightly confused on when the book took place and I was saying it is modern day world if the gods took over some years ago. He really enjoyed the parts where the gods were interacting with one another especially Anubis. My father is a great book critic. He has read so many books by so many authors I feel his opinion is more valid than almost anyone. He is the one who taught me about the “silly” and “stupid” buttons. Whenever I think of a fiction work I always try to avoid those because that is what makes a good story (to me at least.) He also likes Science Fiction, horror, and all sorts of genres so for him to like your book totally doesn’t surprise me.

    I look forward to The Age of Voodoo. That could shape up to be a very strange novel with zombies and all sorts of craziness. I’m looking forward to it. I’ll be in contact about my question I asked you just wanted to reply on here like usual.

    Random comic question. Spider-Man, Dark Knight Rises. What do you think of each, how are they going to be and what is going to be the biggest hit of the summer (Avengers included?) On that note I’ll let you ponder.

  9. James says:

    And here, everyone, is Andrew’s well-written and dare I say it insightful piece on Age Of Zeus. Nice work.

    Amazing Spider-Man I’m not sure about yet. On the one hand, it looks good. On the other, I’m not sure I’m that keen to sit through a reboot, origin story and all. And Peter Parker is searching for the secret behind the disappearance of his parents? What’s up with that? That’s not really canon. Oh, and the Lizard is hardly a top-tier villain. Couldn’t they have gone for the Scorpion or Electro or Kraven or Mysterio, someone of that vintage and calibre?

    Dark Knight Rises. Hmmm. Am I alone in finding the Nolan Batman films classy but a little dull? The Dark Knight had some decent moments but seemed ponderous and some of the plot elements, e.g. the dilemmas set by the Joker, seemed forced and unrealistic. It’s gratifying to see such a serious, evem reverent approach to the character and his world, and anything’s better than another Joel Schumacher abortion, but I didn’t find the first two movies entertaining and I suspect this one won’t be either. Having said that, the trailer looks good.

    With Avengers hurtling towards a billion-dollar take, I think it’s going to be the superhero film to beat this year, both in terms of quality and box office. As you may know, I didn’t much like it first time round, but on second viewing it improved greatly. I only hope its success means that Joss Whedon gets hired for the sequel. Anyone else is only going to screw things up.

  10. I am humbled with your kind words about my article. I’m in the process of doing Age of Odin and plan on having that up in a very short while. Also besides your own books I will be doing some variation of a review on the Before Watchmen series that are coming out. With those I plan on reading them and being brutally honest so expect some hate/love depending on my outlook.

    As for The Amazing Spider-Man I have to somewhat disagree with the Lizard. Marvel has been pushing Lizard in the comics for over a year now (maybe in promo for the movie, maybe just trying to give the character more substance.) Besides that Curt Conners has been in the past 1-2 movies Sony put out hinting at the Lizard for a while. What doesn’t make sense to me is that this is a reboot not a sequal so therefor the above mentioned pros for Lizard essentially do not exist. What I don’t like is how they are trying to make Peter’s accident becoming Spider-Man to seem like it wasn’t an accident. If I were to draft a villain I myself might have gone with Scorpion (using the J Jameson hiring Gargan back story) Electro, Rhino, or a better more comic accurate Lizard..not whatever that is in the movie.

    The Dark Knight Rises. My father put it best about TDK, saying it is a good movie but forgettable. When the Joker is on camera you stop what your doing and watch. Heath Ledger is that movie end of story. I thought the Joker was well constructed for TDK and the blend of realism/comic story worked well. Batman Begins was boring and plodded on only getting good when Cillian Murphy took stage. I’m hoping Tom Hardy can help carry this movie the way the baddies did in the previous two but he has one tall order to fill after TDK. I see these Batman films as a film Noir hybrid with comics and so far so good. I think this one will be made or broken on how it ends and what Bane does to the Bat.

    I personally agree that Avengers is going to top the charts this year. I was arguing with someone who says it will be Batman. His point is that TDK made so much money it was so popular that will bring viewers to this one, and all part 3 of a trilogy make the most money. I know you didn’t care for the Avengers in Round 1 of viewing but I myself greatly enjoyed it. I’m glad you came around for your second viewing though. I heard some interesting news speaking of Whedon and sequals. Supposedly they are making a Guardians of the Galaxy movie in 2014. Ironman 3 in 2013. Captain America 2 in 2014, and Thor 2 some unreleased date then Avengers 2 in 2015. I think Whedon is already signed on to continue the franchise but if he isn’t directing Avengers 2 I might find it hard to go see it.

  11. James says:

    Marvel tampered with Spider-Man’s origin back in the 90s, when John Byrne did a reboot comic that tied the radiation accident in to Doctor Octopus’s origin. It didn’t catch on and was retconned out of existence pretty quickly. I think the same will apply here. If his becoming Spidey wasn’t an accident, it opens up a whole can of worms and completely changes the arc and the nature of the character. How is Peter Parker going to learn about responsibility if a human agency, not fate, gave him his spider powers? They really shouldn’t be screwing around with the property like this. Why did the new movie have to be a reboot anyway? Couldn’t they just have carried on where the other three left off? Different actors, fine. Different director, fine. It’s not a problem. James Bond has carried on through lead actor after lead actor, sticking with continuity by using the same secondary characters throughout (and often the same actors in those roles). You can give the illusion of change while still maintaining an overall consistency.

    Maybe the best thing of all, villain-wise, would be to use the Sinister Six. Doc Ock could be revived, and the Sandman never died so he’s still available, and the other four (Kraven, Mysterio, Electro, the Rhino) are all visually appealing and the screenwriter could have great fun with the character interplay between them. I don’t know, it does seem that these moviemakers just aren’t trying very hard.

    I presume the Guardians of the Galaxy movie would enable Thanos to be introduced properly before he becomes the Big Bad for Avengers 2. I mean, if you’ve got a space super-team, they surely must battle the ultimate Marvel space villain. I can’t think of any other reason why they’ve chosen to make a movie about a bunch of characters no one outside the comics world has ever heard of.

  12. Heh I agree with you fully on how Marvel/Sony and all the others keep messing with Spider-Man’s origin and other things similar. A reboot is a waste of time but the original movies screwed up so much of the back story to Spider-Man that I can understand why restart it, but that is from a comic perspective, not a person who doesn’t know the books. A Sinister Six would have been a great movie. Electro, Rhino, Mysterio, Kraven, Chameleon, and Doc Ock all who either are minor for less back story or already introduced, but why ask fans like us what to do when they can make it up as they go along?

    Guardians of the Galaxy is a definite play on the new Avengers 2 Thanos movie. Rocket Raccoon, Nova, Adam Warlock, Groot, and Starlord just to name some of the characters nobody else knows. It would be a flow unless they make Thanos a focal point and really reference the Avengers in the back.

    I must say I love the Age of Voodoo cover. It truly is phenomenal. Baron Samedi looks great as does the rest. Looking forward to reading that one as much as the rest and now that I’m caught up I can actually read it when it comes out. That is exciting. Sorry on the Age of Odin review delay it is coming up very shortly and if you wanna keep an eye on my site you’ll see my opinion on Before Watchmen as well.

  13. James says:

    I’ve bought the first issue of each of those Watchmen prequel series but haven’t got round to reading them yet. On the one hand, these comics shouldn’t be happening. It’s just wrong. A travesty. But on the other hand, those are some superb creators (and Jae Lee) and the comics might be decent product, even if ethically dubious. What I can’t get over is the fact that DC was contemplating reverting all rights to the original book back to Moore and Gibbons, then at the last moment changed their minds and decided to cash in instead. That’s low.

    As for Amazing Spider-Man, I just think someone should have had some balls and not gone for an origin retread. Everyone already knows how and why Spidey became Spidey. How about, instead, launch straight into the story, as the average Spidey comic would, and bring people up to speed as the movie goes along? It wouldn’t take more than a five-minute flashback sequence, a few references cunningly inserted into the script, and meanwhile everyone could relax, sit back, and enjoy more pure, straight-up Spider-Man action. As for bringing Peter Parker’s parents into the equation — why? They’re irrelevant to the character. His parents are Aunt May and Uncle Ben. Losing his uncle is equivalent to losing his father. That’s all the motivation the character needs. Ugh. I’m still going to see it, but only grudgingly.

    Voodoo is taking shape nicely. I’ve probably got about 150 pages to go, mostly straight action. Whenever one of Marek’s covers comes in, or one of Clint’s for that matter, it gets turned straight into my PC wallpaper and I feel more inspired to continue writing the book than before. My feeling always is, “Well, now the contents really have to match that illustration…”

  14. After a very long absence of reply from me I’m finally on and replying. Let me start off by saying sorry it’s taken this long to get on but now that I’m here let me recap what I’ve been up too. I have read all Before Watchmen comics thus far and looking at them as a pure prequel they are good. Knowing it is Watchmen that they are coming before, makes me wonder why the comics even exist.

    I feel like as summer is winding down that I am still so far behind on my normal activities. I’m behind on comics, on video games, replying on here, just the normal stuff and when school starts it is like all bets are off. I have been working hard on all sorts of things and most importantly a new job I’m hoping to get. It is still with the same company but more career oriented for me and more on my proper path.

    I am looking forward to reading Age of Voodoo and by now you are probably finished writing it. I’ll keep it short and sweet just wanted to actually write something here since its been almost a month of nothing from me.

  15. James says:

    Voodoo is about three-fifths done. I’d be nearer the end but there’s been so many other bits of work demanding to be done that I haven’t been progressing with it as fast as I’d like.

    Looking forward to doing our interview later in the month. Sorry this has to be short but time is pressing!

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• Filed under Books • 23/09/2011 •